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different types of pcbs, types of pcbs, basics of pcbs,Hello Everyone! We always feel happy when you come to our website for useful information that resonates with your needs and requirements. Today, I am going to whet your appetite with the Introduction to Different Types of PCB (Printed Circuit Boards). Most of you are familiar with the PCB, it is a printed circuit board which contains traces,lines and paths to electrically connect different components. It consists of substrate on which copper conducting material is laminated for creating a electrical connection between components. If you are looking to design your PCB by yourself, you can use any of these top 10 PCB design software. Let’s dive in and explore the features of different types of PCB boards.

Different Types of Printed Circuit Boards

  • PCB is an acronym of printed circuit board that contains tracks, lines and paths to electrically connect different electronics components.
  • It consists of substrate on which copper material is laminated to create a conduction path between different components.
  • Three ways are used for the construction of PCB called single sided, double sided and multilayered.
  • Required components are connected electrically with the PCB board using two different method named as through hole technology and surface mount technology.

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  • Through hole process is an old method and became an obsolete. In this process lead wires are used that pass through the hole of PCB board and then soldered to the required components.
  • Surface mount method is an advanced process and frequently used. In this process electronics components are directly mounted on the surface of PCB board.
  • Devices made from surface mount technology are known as surface mount devices.
  • If you are looking to work individually you can get advantage of online PCB design services you . Here are top online PCB design services.

Types of PCB

Following is the list of available PCBs in the market. You can choose any PCB based on your requirements related to project.

  • Single Sided PCBs
  • Double Sided PCBs
  • Multilayer PCBs
  • Rigid PCBs
  • Flex PCBs
  • Rigid-Flex PCBs
  • High Frequency PCBs
  • Aluminium Backed PCBs
Single Sided PCBs
  • Single sided PCBs usually contain only one layer of base material (substrate).
  • One side of the base material is laminated with metal that is used to build an electrical connection between the components soldered on the board.
  • Copper metal is mostly used for creating a conducting path because it acts as a good conductor and comes with low resistance.
  • Solder mask is used on the top of the copper layer that provides solid protection.
  • On the top of solder mask there exists a silkscreen coating that is used for marking the elements on the board.
  • Single sided PCBs are an ideal choice for the beginners are mostly used in simple electronics which don’t involve complex circuitry.
  • They are easy to manufacture in which circuits and components are soldered on one side of the substrate.
  • Cheap cost and easy availability makes these PCBs an ideal choice for mass production.
  • These low cost modules are widely used in many applications including stereo components, calculators, cameras, power supplies and printers.

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Double Sided PCBs
  • Double sided PCBs are similar to single sided PCBs with one exception, they contain copper material on the both side of the substrate material.
  • Circuits on the one side of the board are connected on the other side of the board by means of holes drilled on the board.
  • Components on these PCB boards are connected using two different technology i.e Through Hole Technology and Surface Mount Technology.
  • Double sided PCBs feature moderate level of complexity and mostly used in wide range of applications including automotive dashboard, LED lighting, vending machines, amplifiers, HVAC system, instrumentation and many more.

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Multilayer PCBs
  • Multilayer PCBs are more complex than double sided PCBs and come with a combination of single sided and double sided boards.
  • There are more layers available on these boards than double sided boards.
  • Piece of insulation is placed between each board in order to provide protection that prevents the components from burning in case excessive heat is produced.
  • Multilayers on the boards allow the professionals to make complex and thick designs which help in accomplishing more complex electrical tasks.
  • The extra layers incorporated on the multilayer design are very helpful and often used for preventing the electromagnetic interference which is usually emitted by the design itself.
  • Multilayer PCBs are widely used in number of applications including Satellite system, GPS technology, Data storage, File servers and Weather analysis systems.

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Rigid PCBs
  • Rigid PCBs are commonly used in electronics that provide strength to the circuits, make them rigid and prevent them from twisting.
  • Computer motherboard is an ideal example of rigid PCBs that is composed of rigid substrate material.
  • Motherboard is a multilayer PCB that is designed to distribute electricity from power supply and helps in creating a conducting path between different parts of computer including CPU, RAM and GPU. Rigid PCBs are manufactured in large number and once manufactured they can not be altered or modified during the entire life span of device in which they are mounted.
  • These rigid PCBs are designed with layers ranging from single layer to ten or more multilayers PCBs.

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Flexible PCBs
  • Flexible PCBs are flexible and can flex or transform into any shape based on needs and requirements.
  • Flexible PCBs are also referred as Flex Circuit which use plastic material in contrast to rigid PCBs which use fiberglass that provides rigidity and strength to the PCB.
  • The conducting material used in these PCBs is mostly composed of polyester, polymide or PEEK (Polyether ether ketone).
  • These PCBs pertain to high level of complexity and come with different layers ranging from single sided, double sided or multi-sided flex circuits.
  • Flexible nature sets these PCBs apart from other as they can be folded and wrapped around the corner.
  • In order to avoid environmental hazards, flexible PCBs are composed of the materials that are resistant to high temperature oils, corrosion resistant, waterproof and shockproof which are the features some traditional PCBs don’t have.
  • These PCBs flex circuits are used in wide range of applications including Flex solar cells, LCD fabrication, Cellular telephones, automotive industries, Laptops, camera, LEDs and many more.

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Rigid-Flex PCBs
  • Rigid-Flex PCBs are manufactured when number of flexible PCBs are combined with range of rigid layers.
  • This gives both flexibility and strength throughout the PCB surface.
  • Rigid-Flex PCBs has a leg over some traditional PCBs because they incorporate some features of both flexible and rigid PCBs into a single board.
  • Less space required to construct a whole circuit and minimum weight makes these PCBs an ideal choice for most of the applications including pacemakers, automobiles, cell phones and digital cameras.

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High Frequency PCBs
  • High Frequency PCBs are slightly different in terms of construction and materials used from traditional PCBs and are capable of transmitting signals over one GHz.
  • These PCBs are often composed of materials like polyphenylene oxide, Teflon, and glass reinforced epoxy laminate.
  • Small dielectric constant makes Teflon an expensive choice for high frequency PCBs and it also provides low water absorption and small dielectric loss.
  • You must take some things into consideration before choosing high frequency PCBs for your project like dielectric thickness, dielectric constant and power dissipation.
  • Dielectric constant is the most important feature when it comes to choosing high frequency PCBs because if dielectric constant changes too quickly and unable to maintain a constant state, it leads to corrupting the digital signal which effects the overall performance of the signal.
  • Similarly, dielectric loss is directly proportional to the signal loss and it also effect the signal transmission quality. Smaller dielectric loss leads to smaller signal loss.
  • High Frequency PCBs if used in wet environment can affect the dielectric constant.
  • The material selection for making these PCBs is very important, material you pick must be resistant to heat and hazardous chemicals and provides strength and durability to the PCB surface.

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Aluminum-Backed PCBs
  • Aluminum Backed PCBs are similar to copper PCBs with some exceptions i.e. Substrate in aluminum backed PCBs is made up of aluminum or copper material.
  • These PCBs are coupled with insulating material that provides less thermal resistance, avoiding the heat from transferring to its backing.
  • Aluminum Backed PCBs widely replace the traditional PCBs with fiberglass substrate, come with lots of advantages and become an ideal choice for most of the professionals.
  • Aluminum is inexpensive, making almost 8.23% of planet’s weight, and leads to most economical manufacturing process.
  • PCBs made up of aluminum are easily recyclable and non-toxic in nature, making them as ideal source for energy conservation.
  • Aluminum is very durable than its counterparts like fiberglass or ceramic, and pertains to less damage during installation and manufacturing process.
  • And aluminum is an ideal choice for dissipating heat from the circuit components, allowing the heat to transfer into the atmosphere rather than transferring it into the rest of the board.
  • Aluminum Backed PCBs are widely used in high output power applications including power supplies, automotive lights, traffic lights, motor controllers and many more.
  • PCB manufacturing process has been evolved in an amazing way from simple single layer design to most complex design that can be used in aerospace and medical field.
  • Making PCB using fiberglass base material is becoming obsolete and is widely replaced by new materials like Teflon, bendable plastic and aluminum which lead to the production of high frequency and aluminum backed PCBs.
  • Apart from these advantages, these aluminum baked PCBs also pertain to high mechanical stability and have capability of bearing high mechanical stress when they are used in advanced electrical projects.
  • In contrast to fiberglass board, aluminum backed PCBs provide less thermal expansion, allowing the the copper foil and insulation stay placed on the board, making them less likely to extract from the board, hence help in increasing the overall lifespan of the board.

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  • Experts are looking for developing more complex design based on consumers’ needs and requirements. Before you pick certain PCB, you must consider few things into consideration like space required, strength it can bear, mechanical stability and mechanical stress, however it is best to contact the manufacturer if you’re unsure to the PCB features it exhibits.

That’s all for today. I hope you have enjoyed these different types of PCB. We try our best to keep you updated with the information you look for. However, if still you feel any doubt or have any question you can ask me in the comment section below, I’d love to help you according to best of my expertise. Stay tuned!

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